Summer Camp at Vitor with the Shalom families

On Tuesday morning we went to the Vitor Campsite with all the Shalom pupils and their families. Everyone had an amazing time thanks to the organisation and hard work of the Shalom team who worked non-stop from beginning to end. So much thought, preparation and attention to detail had been given into making the camp such a special time. We tried to support the team as much as we could, finding this experience so encouraging and rewarding. There were a range of participants, from little ones to young adults, from children with severe disabilities in wheelchairs to mums and dads. Everyone was welcome in everything, each person valued and looked out for. There was much fun and laughter over team games, which got very competitive (a trait we are told common to Peruvians), dancing around the bonfire, trying new crafts. There were opportunities for everyone to learn of God’s saving love for them through age appropriate Bible Studies and related activities.

As a team, our first devotion was from Romans 1 where Paul writes to the Christians in Rome that they are set apart for God.  So, can we reverse that message and set God apart for ourselves?  This trip to Peru has been for us an opportunity to carve out some time from our hectic ‘normal’ life by setting God apart for ourselves. And in doing so, we have seen our Heavenly Father’s love in so many unexpected ways: from the delight of a daughter on recognising her mother as she approaches to the pleasure of a 3 year old enjoying a simple game of ‘give me five’ when conversation isn’t possible; from a joyous dance around a burning camp fire to the glorious sunrise across the river and the majesty of snow crowned mountains; from the determination of mothers and fathers to love unconditionally, and the kindness of brothers and sisters sharing in the care for siblings who simply cannot care for themselves to the dedication of the Shalom School to carve out a place of respite to families who don’t experience the luxury of ‘me time’; and finally in the fellowship of new friends in vulnerable circumstances. These three days have been very special, inspiring, at times emotional, but what else can be expected when God responds to searching hearts.